Victims of injustice at the hands of those involved with the criminal justice system can, in certain circumstances, receive financial compensation and other remedies, including acknowledgment of the wrong done to them or their loved one.
Hickman & Rose are experts in acting for people who have suffered injustice both in the course of law enforcement activity by public officials in the UK and also by healthcare organisations. The firm has secured highly favourable settlements for clients, including damages, apologies, and agreements by the relevant organisation to put in place ways to act differently in the future.
Our lawyers have acted in claims against police forces across England and Wales, prisons, the Crown Prosecution Service, HM Revenue and Customs, Immigration Detention Centres, and also healthcare organisations where the claims have arisen in a criminal justice context.
Compensation claims are normally brought by means of civil legal action. There are multiple reasons why an individual or an organisation may have a potential civil claim against an organisation involved in the criminal justice system. These can include:
In addition to these potential civil actions, a victim of crime may be able claim compensation directly from the Criminal Cases Review Commission, while someone who has experienced a miscarriage of justice (and whose criminal conviction has been quashed as an out-of-time appeal) may, under specified circumstances, be able to claim compensation directly from the Secretary of State for Justice.
It is possible, in certain circumstances, to claim compensation for a death which occurred either in state custody, or shortly after contact with a state organisation, such as the police. There may be a number of potential claims available, but these may include a claim for breach of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (which relates to the right to life where the claimant is able to show that the state organisation involved ‘knew or ought to have known of a real and immediate risk to life’ but nonetheless did not take reasonable steps to make a difference.
It is crucially important that anyone considering a compensation case ensures they have obtained – or can obtain – all the available evidence relevant to their case.
Evidence for a civil compensation claim can come from a wide variety of sources, depending on the nature of the case.
CCTV footage and body-worn video as collected by police forces and other organisations can provide essential evidence. However, as video can be deleted after a relatively short period of time it is essential to act quickly to ensure steps are taken to preserve this evidence.
One potentially useful way to gather evidence is through any complaint system available. For example, if a complaint is made about the actions of a police officer the police or IOPC (depending on the circumstances) should investigate the complaint, gathering evidence including taking the account of the officer, reviewing any footage, and documentary information.
Evidence in relation to any potential death in custody claim may be obtained through a number of routes. These include from any statutory investigation into the death, such as by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) as well as from the inquest into the individual’s death.
All civil claims have a time limit, known as ‘limitation’, by which they need to be filed at court; although in certain circumstances the time limits can be extended, or not applied. It is therefore important for legal advice to be sought promptly after an event has occurred which might give rise to a potential civil claim.
Hickman and Rose have extensive expertise in acting in claims for compensation, in particular, those arising from actions taken by defendants linked with the criminal justice system or who have become involved as a result of the criminal justice system. We can advise as to whether there may be a potential claim and act in relation to such claims.
The firm has special expertise in acting for the families of those who have died in state custody, including bringing claims under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Examples of compensation matters in which the firm has acted include: